A savoury smell wafted in the air as I enter Nishiki market. Briefly, I closed my eyes to take in the buzz of the market. Markets and bazaars? They are always part of my itinerary every time I travel. These places hold history significant to its location. Here, you can have a glimpse how the day unfolds for some locals, and even have an opportunity to hear interesting stories from proprietors.
Uji is famed as one of the major producers of quality tea in Japan. Perhaps, you have heard of Uji-cha, an excellent quality and highly prized tea which has been grown in Uji for many years. Green tea is deeply entrenched in town culture ever since it was brought from China sometime in the fourteenth century.
There are many teahouses, cafes and restaurants wherein one can enjoy Uji’s tea culture. I’m particularly fond of matcha parfait and dangos. Visitors can also purchase green tea, or teaware in shops.
Aside from green tea, Uji is also known as one of the settings for The Tale of Genji. As it is located between the two ancient capitals, Kyoto and Nara, some important events had occurred in the area many years ago.
Location: Arashiyama, Kyoto
An early morning stroll is a sure way to start a new day fresh and relaxed. The reason I travel is to detach myself from stresses of daily life. I like to meditate and just focus on my environment, feel the spirit of nature and just let go of conflicting thoughts raging in my mind.
At eight in the morning, there were few people walking at the bamboo grove. Indeed, the combination of the sprawling rows of bamboo and gentle breeze of the wind gives one a true sense of tranquillity.
Location: Arashiyama, Kyoto
Otagi Nenbutsuji is one of Kyoto’s hidden gems. Tucked in a secluded area in the west of Arashiyama, this place is often overlooked by visitors whose focus are on Arashiyama’s known spots. You can easily visit the temple by catching a bus either at the stop located at the train station or at the stop near Togetsukyo bridge.
The supposedly first destination wound up being the last sight to see. It was almost sunset when I arrived at Fushimi Inari.
Fushimi Inari-taisha is located at the base of the sacred Mt. Inari in the southeast of Kyoto. The shrine is well-known for the winding path surrounded by thousands of bright, vermillion torii gates.
No, I did not come to specifically to Nara to search for trash cans.
After visiting Daigo-ji, I decided to spend the rest of my afternoon in Nara.
Nara was the former capital of Japan established by Empress Genmei on 710 AD. Nara is the oldest capital in Japan wherein during the Nara period, Buddhism was permanently established. Temples such as Todai-ji were built during this period. Due to its past, Nara is home to many historical and cultural treasures. For instance, some artworks and imported treasures during the era of Emperors Shōmu and Shōtoku are archived in Shōsō-in of Tōdai-ji temple. Nara prefecture also holds the most UNESCO heritage listings than any other prefectures in Japan.
Often, spontaneity result to some of the best memories you have ever had.
A pair of guardian statues (created in 1134 by Seizo and Ninzo) greets me as I enter the gate towards the grounds of Daigo-ji.
Daigo – ji houses numerous cultural properties, notably a 954-year old five story pagoda (the oldest wooden structure in Kyoto Prefecture) and Sanboin, the latter which has been used by Toyotomi Hideyoshi as a venue for his cherry blossom viewing parties.